Still More Road to Rash?
Last year, Electronic Arts refiled trademarks for several classic properties, including some from companies its consumed over the years. There were also been a few original IPs renewed, and among them was Road Rash. The game was reported to be under development, and the source was none other than metal band Skid Row’s former frontman, Sebastian Bach. According to Bach, his song “You Don’t Understand” was slated to be included in the game. EA head
John Riccitiello expressed interest in revisiting the series, but he denied that anything was under development.
It sound like he may have spoken too soon. Recently, a video turned up showing what the game would have looked like in its early stages. Very rough and far from finished, this newest Road Rash does have one thing down: the sense of speed. Today’s consoles are perfect for such a game, and the thought of clan racing makes our mouths watery. It might not be in the works now, but someone needs to make another Road Rash. Our whips and chains demand it!
It’s nice to see that Konami remembers it has franchise that don’t start with the words Metal Gear, and it’s even nicer to see the company resurrect a 16-bit franchise, and one that began on the Genesis! Next year, we’ll be getting a new installment of Rocket Knight Adventures for the PC, Playstation 3, and the Xbox 360. The game plays in complete 2D but has the 3D visuals all modern games seem required to implement. Truth be told, we’re not big fans of the art direction so far, and the trailer we saw had a distinct lack of pigs with their butts on fire (an RKA staple), but we’re willing to reserve judgment until we can actually get some play time with it. The gameplay evoked memories of the past games, and we’re hoping that its solid enough to be a worthy addition to the franchise. This is a full-fledged sequel and not a remake, so it will be interesting to see where Konami takes things.
Konami has a chance to bring back a classic, and hopefully the new art work isn’t a bad omen. We all know what happened when Capcom fiddled with the art for Commando for its downloadable sequel, and it would be a shame for Sparkster to go the same route.
Still Free of ToeJam
After Sega released Sega All-Star Tennis last year, we were quite vocal about the appalling lack of ToeJam and Earl. The duo were perfect for a doubles tennis team, and it was unclear why Sega would leave them out. When the company announced an all-star cart racer coming later this year, we were saddened to once again see that the alien friends were nowhere to be found. Even Shenmue’s Ryo Hazuki found a way to bring his forklift into the new release, so why no TJ & E? According to developer Sumo Digital, Sega wanted to include the duo but discovered that… it didn’t own them. “ToeJam and Earl were characters we did want to include in Sega Superstars Tennis,” Sumo Digital told Kotaku. “Sega had looked into it, but it transpires that the rights to the characters actually belong to someone else. I know Sega tried to resolve this so we could include them – but this wasn’t successful.”
Now, we know that Sega has had a hard time keeping track of its properties, but to not remember that it didn’t own ToeJam & Earl? Come on! Not content with just Sega’s side, we decided to see if the company had indeed tried to get the rights to the characters. For that, Sega-16 went right to the source. We contacted TJ creator Greg Johnson and simply asked him. His answer was quite disheartening. “Some producer contacted me, about six months ago and asked if they could use the characters for free… or essentially free…” Johnson told us, “and I said – ‘um, no.’ That about sums it up.”
Even so, Johnson is still willing to bring the pair back to the Sega fold. “I’d be happy to still talk to them with the understanding that Mark and I already let Sega put TJ&E 1 and 2 on the Wii for free (they’re making bucks off of that, we’re not), and while I’d LOVE to see our funkadelic alien duo out there making fans smile again, I don’t want to just hand them to Sega or other developers for free. That’s not cool.”
Johnson seemed more disappointed to us than anything else, and we share his feelings. It looks like Sega has missed yet another chance to do right by its classic characters, and we’re not too enthusiastic about a potential roster list for Sonic and Sega All-Star Racing. Who knows though? Maybe Sega will surprise us. We’re totally willing to ignore Sega’s track record of the past decade and a half and give it the benefit of the doubt! Really we are!
A New Nomad Arrives
After playing Innex’s Genesis Portable, we’re quite eager to get our hands on the Retro Gen, a cartridge-playing handheld that just arrived this week. According to forum member Beastech, the device plays just about all carts except for Virtua Racing and Super Street Fighter II CE. Even Beggar Prince was said to work fine, as did Sonic & Knuckles (cartridge lock-on and all!) . He was even able to get his flash cart working on it!
According to his reports, the Retro Gen has a a dozen or so built-in games, a USB port, as well as a headphone jack. The screen is excellent (not surprising, given the awesome screen on the Genesis Portable). The manual puts battery life at six hours when fully charged. Sound emulation is pretty spotty in some cases though, similar to the Firecore console, but most games he played were said to have sounded fine.